A specific learning disorder with impairment in reading (dyslexia) is the most common form of learning disability, accounting for 80% of all children identified. Problems with reading, and related difficulties in comprehension, spelling and writing are common for these children. Many people who have a specific learning disorder with impairment in reading (dyslexia) also experience difficulties with working memory, attention and organisational skills.
Dyslexia can be defined as:
… a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.*
When looking at identifying a specific learning disorder with impairment in reading (dyslexia), deficits in one or both of the following key academic areas are usually present:
- Inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading (e.g. reads single words aloud incorrectly or slowly and hesitantly, frequently guesses words, has difficulty sounding out words).
- Difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read (e.g. may read text accurately but not understand the sequence, relationships, inferences, or deeper meanings of what is read).
*This definition is the preferred definition of DSF and AUSPELD, as well as the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Specific learning disorder in reading (dyslexia) across the school years
Children who have a specific learning disorder with impairment in reading (dyslexia) will show some or many of the difficulties listed below. They may not display all of these characteristics.